Skip to content

What Did the FBI Learn about Homegrown Violent Extremists from a 2012 Survey?

June 27, 2017

Survey results analyzed in a Secret December 20, 2012, FBI Counterterrorism Division report shed some light on the Bureau’s insights about homegrown violent extremists. The report, released to the National Security Archive’s Dr. Jeffrey Richelson in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, specifically focuses on radicalization.

Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to draw conclusions from the document given the amount of redacted material (all redactions were made pursuant to the FOIA exemptions covering national security information, law enforcement techniques, and the protection of intelligence sources and methods). The FBI redacted all information about who was polled and who conducted the survey, but a good guess is that they survey was carried out by the Directorate of Intelligence’s Analysis and Strategic Issues Branch.

The few legible portions of the document concern “Anwar Aulaqi and His Propaganda,” Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan, and reveal the existence of a number of recommendations made to field offices. There are also four classified appendices.

The report is dated less than a week after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, however, and it is difficult to imagine that it does not also address the threat of “lone wolf” homegrown terrorists such as Adam Lanza, who killed 20 young children and six adults (not including himself) at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, or James Holmes, who massacred 12 people in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado earlier that year. It is similarly likely that the danger posed by neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups is included in the report.

Of course, the Archive will file a FOIA appeal in an effort to learn more.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: